Roundup: Iran to provide COVID-19 vaccines in March; over 675,000 health workers in Turkey receive Chinese vaccine

By Liu Lu

CAIRO, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Saturday said the country will start vaccination in March. Meanwhile, more than 675,000 health workers in Turkey have received COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac.

Addressing a national committee meeting on fighting COVID-19, Rouhani said Iran will begin mass vaccination by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2021).

He also urged people to observe all necessary health protocols, saying if health protocols are not implemented, the country may run the risk of another peak in COVID-19 cases.

Rouhani said that Iran's joint vaccine with a foreign country will be ready next Iranian year, vowing to provide other vaccines bought from COVAX by the end of the current year or at the beginning of the next year.

Spokeswoman for Iran's Ministry of Health and Medical Education Sima Sadat Lari said that the country's total count of confirmed COVID-19 infections rose to 1,324,395, after 6,100 new cases were registered.

She said that 96 new deaths related to the coronavirus were registered in Iran, taking the death toll of the epidemic in the country to 56,717.

In Turkey, more than 675,000 health workers have received COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac during the first three days of the country's vaccination program, Turkish Health Ministry's data showed on Saturday.

Turkey reported 7,550 new COVID-19 cases, including 902 symptomatic patients, as the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 2,380,665, according to the health ministry.

The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 168 to 23,832, while the total recoveries climbed to 2,254,052 after 8,005 more cases recovered in the last 24 hours.

The country started mass vaccination for COVID-19 on Jan. 14 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese vaccine.

Israel's Ministry of Health reported 6,815 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 541,864.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Israel reached 3,943 with 33 new fatalities, while the number of patients in serious condition decreased from 1,135 to 1,082, out of 1,897 hospitalized patients.

The total recoveries rose to 455,370, after 2,012 new recovered cases were added. The active cases rose to a record high of 82,551.

The ministry also reported that the number of people vaccinated against the COVID-19 in Israel has reached over 2.027 million.

Israel has thus vaccinated about 22 percent of its population of almost 9.3 million in less than a month, since the vaccination campaign began on Dec. 20, 2020.

The ministry also reported four more cases of the new COVID-19 strain that was detected in South Africa and other countries. This brought the total number of patients tested positive for COVID-19 variants in Israel to 159.

Morocco announced 1,240 new COVID-19 cases, taking the tally in the North African country since March 2 to 458,865.

The number of recoveries from the coronavirus in Morocco increased to 433,937 after 1,361 more were added, while the death toll rose by 23 to 7,911, the ministry of health said in a statement.

In Oman, the target groups will receive the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine starting Sunday.

"In line with the schedule for the implementation of the national campaign for immunization against COVID-19, the second dose of the vaccine for the same target groups that received the first dose a few weeks ago was scheduled to begin on Sunday," Oman's health ministry said.

A total of 24,204 people in Oman have received the first dose of the vaccine by Jan. 15, according to the ministry statement. Oman has so far reported 131,264 COVID-19 cases, including 123,593 recoveries and 1,509 deaths.

The Qatari Health Ministry announced 204 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number in the Gulf state to 147,089.

It said 177 more recovered from the virus, bringing the overall recoveries to 143,612, while the death toll remained at 246 for the ninth consecutive day, according to a ministry statement.

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